Pros and Cons of a Career as a Bank Auditor
Bank auditors are individuals who ensure that a bank's finances and information are not being mismanaged. Find out the pros and cons of becoming a bank auditor to see if it's right for you.
|Pros of a Career as a Bank Auditor|
|Higher-than-average pay (median annual salary of $65,940 for accountants and auditors in May 2014)*|
|An entry-level position is obtainable with a bachelor's degree*|
|Variety of job tasks (conducting investigations, hiring and training new employees, recommending courses of action to management, and directing work)**|
|Advancement to higher levels can be obtained through work experience alone*|
|Cons of a Career as a Bank Auditor|
|Employers may prefer bank auditors with years of experience**|
|A master's degree or certification may be required or preferred by some employers*|
|Bank auditors may work more than 40 hours per week, especially during the end of a fiscal season or tax year*|
|This may be a high-stress career as lending tightens and auditing regulations change*|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **April 2012 job postings from Monster.com.
Bank auditors analyze records and activities of the banks that they work for. These individuals go through year-end financial statements to ensure that a banking institution reports all transactions and is being managed correctly. As a bank auditor, you would be responsible for planning and preparing for audits then later reporting on information revealed in the audits.
Job Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not report specifically on bank auditors, but does offer information for accountants and auditors in general. From 2012-2022, auditors and accountants are expected to see a 13% employment growth, according to the BLS. Part of the increase may be due to the tightening of lending restrictions. In May 2014, there were over one million accountants and auditors working in the U.S., and these professionals earned a median annual salary of about $65,940. Most of those individuals reported earnings between about $40,850 and $115,950 in 2014, although pay can vary based on field.
A bachelor's degree in a subject like accounting or finance is a common requirement for a career as a bank auditor. These degree programs typically include courses in corporate finance, financial accounting, taxation, cost accounting and ethics. In addition to education, you'll typically be expected to possess skills in some key areas that are important for auditing work. These could include:
- Math and finance skills
- Organizational skills
- Ability to work as part of a team
- Ability to multitask
- Good communication skills
What Are Employers Looking for?
Auditors must be good with figures and must be very detail-oriented. They must typically hold a bachelor's degree, and industry certification can be preferred. Job listings posted in April 2012 show what some employers are looking for in bank auditor candidates:
- A California company seeks a bank auditor to appraise financial and fiduciary activities of the bank. This person will report their findings after conducting internal audits. They will also act as a liaison between regulators, law enforcement and the bank. At least a bachelor's degree and professional certification as either a Certified Bank Auditor or CPA are required.
- A South Dakota bank seeks an internal auditor with a bachelor's degree and a minimum of ten years of experience. Travel is required in this position.
- A California bank seeks a senior auditor to act as team lead for the bank audit team, which would require planning risk assessments, executing audits and managing personnel. The candidate should have a bachelor's degree or auditing-related professional certifications. Also, 4-7 years of experience is required.
- A California company seeks a bank auditor with experience in Sarbanes Oxley (SOX) texting. This individual must have experience in a mid-tier firm, 8-15 years work experience and knowledge of Microsoft Office, Visio or SOX documentation.
- An Atlanta bank seeks a senior auditor to conduct internal audits for corporate business clients. This person should have knowledge of financial institutions and know how to work as part of a team. This person will complete a variety of audits and create reports regarding those findings. An advanced degree and professional certifications are requested.
How To Stand out
Continue Your Education
A master's degree in a subject like finance or accounting could be preferred in potential bank auditors, according to both job postings and the BLS. In addition to a more in-depth study of complex financial topics, holding a master's degree is also necessary for some certifications that are preferred by employers, like the CPA credential.
The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) offers a Certified Internal Auditor credential, which requires a 4-year degree and at least two years work experience. The IIA also offers certifications, such as the Certified Financial Services Auditor or the Certified Government Auditing Professional.
The CPA credential can be earned through the American Institute of Certified Professional Accountants after the completion of a master's degree in accounting. An auditor employed at a bank does not necessarily need to be a CPA, but it could be preferred by employers.
Alternative Career Options
If finance is your field but you don't want to work in a bank conducting audits, you could consider a career as a financial analyst. With a 4-year college degree in a subject like finance, economics or accounting, you can obtain an entry-level financial analyst position. You'll need to be able to work with and comprehend a large amount of information and have strong mathematical skills. A master's degree is typically mandatory for advancement in this position.
The BLS projects a 23% increase in employment of financial analysts from 2010-2020. In 2011, the BLS stated that these professionals earned a median annual salary of about $76,000. Many financial analysts are required to be licensed through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, but this licensure comes after employment because employer sponsorship is necessary.
If you're interested in a position that could offer a higher salary, despite slower job growth and a highly competitive field, you may consider becoming a financial manager. In 2011, the BLS reported that financial managers earned a median annual salary of about $107,000, though the job growth from 2010-2020 was only expected to be about nine percent.
A bachelor's degree in a subject like business administration, finance or economics is typically sufficient for such a position, though some employers may prefer a master's degree. Additionally, about five years of experience is necessary to enter into a management position. These professionals are in charge of analyzing the financial well being of an institution, as well as designing plans and setting goals to improve those finances.